Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Duncan Financial Group

What Does Making It All Work Together Mean?

Making it all work together means optimizing the risk and reward of your investment portfolio, protecting the hard earned assets you’ve built over your life time, minimizing the drag of income taxes on your wealth each year, and making sure you have a clear and definitive plan to pass your wealth to the next generation. All orchestrated by a team of specialist under one roof— that’s making it all work together for you.

I already have one or two of services through Duncan, but some of my financial and Insurance services are services elsewhere. Why should I use Duncan for all of my financial needs?

Each piece of your financial well-being is part of a larger puzzle; an under insured property may lead to a withdrawal from your long-term savings. An investment decision may have tax consequences or be adverse to your estate plan. On the other hand, if you save on your insurance premium or income taxes, a financial advisor can guide you to the proper investment to help you grow your wealth or save for the future. When you work with multiple financial professionals at different companies, it’s hard to piece that financial picture together. At Duncan Financial Group, we can see the bigger picture because we work with you comprehensively to accomplish your unique financial goals.

How do I get started with Duncan Financial Group?

Many of our customers began simply by moving their auto and homeowner’s insurance to Duncan Insurance Group. Others needed help on taxes at first. Some needed ideas on how to care for an aging parent. Where you begin your journey with us is up to you and based on your needs. Our goal is to make it all work together for you; offering guidance and support where and when you need it most.

What makes your client experience unique?

Although our team is comprised of six divisions, the true value of our services comes from the ability to have them all work together to create a strategic and customized plan for you. We get to know you and your overall financial goals and find strategic and efficient ways of making those goals a reality for you.

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Financial Services

Is there a fee for an initial meeting?

There is no fee or charge for an initial consultation

Are your services fee-based?

Yes, the majority of our services are "fee-based". (Based on AUM- Assets Under Management)

How often will the advisor meet with a client to review their portfolio?

Typically, we try to meet with our client's every 6 months for a review. However, it ultimately depends on your personal situation and life events and how frequently you will need our services. Just because we don’t meet doesn’t mean we aren’t working on your portfolio.

Is working with an independent advisor more expensive?

Ultimately, it depends! However, trying to manage finances on your own can lead to errors that could potentially cost you more money down the line. Navigating the financial world alone could result in not having enough save for retirement or overpaying on your taxes. Having a second set of eyes can be extremely value in saving you money in the long term.

How much does a financial planner cost?

Services are charged based on the services needed and how involved or complex they may be – services are based on a fee based, a la carte, schedule, however any and all fees are negotiable.

Why Do I Need A Financial Planner?

Having a team of experienced professionals can provide great relief for individuals and businesses trying to navigate the complexities of the financial world. We are equipped with an elite combination of expertise and personal insight to better assist you through your financial circumstances. Find the right financial planner for you by asking these 5 questions

Once my financial plan is set up, do I still need an advisor?

That choice is up to you! We recommend carrying on your relationship with your advisor for continuous guidance through life and market changes. Just because you have a “plan” doesn’t mean everything will go as planned. An advisor can help navigate the ever-changing landscape of financial planning and reaching your financial goals.

How much access will I have to the advisor?

We are always just a phone call away...or an email

Retirement Plan Administration

What Is A Fiduciary and Is My Advisor Considered One?

A fiduciary fiduciary is a person or legal entity, such as an advisor, that has the power and responsibility of acting for another (usually called the beneficiary or principal) in situations requiring total trust, good faith and honesty. Fiduciaries are tasked with a number of responsibilities, including: selecting and monitoring services, minimizing risks, acting as a prudent expert, and understanding the terms of plan documents. As a business owner, having a Fiduciary Advisor can be the difference between your retirement being a benefit or liability

If You Have Money Invested in A 401(K) Plan at One Employer and Change Jobs What Can You Do with Your Account Balance?

You have several options! You can leave your funds in your old 401(k) plan, roll over funds to your new employer’s plan, or you can rollover your 401(k) plan into an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). Meeting with an advisor can help you identify which option is the best choice for you.

As an Employer, Do I Have to Offer A Retirement Plan?

Employers are not required to offer a retirement plan. However, having a retirement plan in place can make you more competitive and appealing when recruiting new hires. Your employees are your most valuable asset. Although offering an employee-sponsored retirement plan comes with an additional cost, it is an investment in your employees that outweighs the cost in the long run.

What Are the Maximum Contributions an Employee Can Make to Their 401 (k) Plan?

The basic employee contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000, up from the limit of $18,500 in 2018. The $19,000 limit includes all elective employee salary deferrals, as well as any after-tax contributions made to a designated Roth account within your 401(k).

What Is the Maximum Contribution an Employer Can Make to A 401(K) Plan?

The limit on employer contributions in 2019 is $37,000 (up by $500 from the 2018 limit).

If I Sponsor A Retirement Plan, Do I Have to Offer an Employer Match?

In a traditional 401(k) plan, employers have the option of making match contributions on behalf of the participants. However, offering an Employer Match is appealing to perspective employees and can aid in employee retention. A 2019 Study found that 81% of employees stated that retirement benefits make up the major of their job search. Offering Employer Match could differentiate your company in a candidate’s job search.

Who Is Responsible for The Investment Decisions Associated with Your 401(K) Account Balance?

Think of your advisor as your GPS. Although we are here to guide you on which route to take, ultimately you are the one operating the vehicle. We will never make decisions without your consultation- you are a part of the process.

What age must you reach before you can draw from your 401(k) account without having to pay a penalty?

Different restrictions depending on your employment status and age. At the age of 55, if you are retired, you may be allowed to make penalty-free withdrawals depending upon your plan. If you retire after the age of 55, you can access penalty-free withdrawals at age 59 ½. One of our Retirement Plan Specialists would be more than happy to walk you through 401(k) withdrawals in more detail.

What Should I Do with My 401(k) When I Go to Retire?

Now that it’s time to retire, navigating this new financial terrain can be a bit overwhelming. When you go to retire, you have several options for utilizing your 401(k). You can rollover your account into an IRA, you can begin to make withdraws from your 401(k), or you can simply let your money continue to grow tax-deferred. Our advisors are here to help guide you through your options and to direct you through the subsequent processes to help you achieve your retirement goals.

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Group Benefits

Why Should I Include Voluntary Benefit Offerings in My Employee Benefits Package?

Having an attractive employee benefits package can make your business more competitive for your recruitment efforts. Similarly, an appealing benefits package can aid in employee retention. A 2019 study stated that “78% of workers would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers”. Typically, voluntary benefit packages are no additional cost to the employer but provide a wealth of value for their business.

Why Do I Have to Offer Employee Benefits? What’s the Advantage of a Comprehensive Benefits Package?

There are several employee benefits that are legally required to be available to employees. Family and Medical Leave, Social Security, Medicare, Federal Insurance Contributions (FICA), Worker’s Compensation and Health Insurance (for companies with 50 or more full-time employees) are mandated employee benefits. Legal considerations aside, having an attractive employee benefits package makes your business more competitive to potential employees and can also enhance your employee retention efforts. A 2019 study revealed that “More than 50% of employees said they have left jobs for better benefits elsewhere”. Your employees are your company’s most valuable asset. An investment in your employees is a long-term investment in your business.

Does Duncan Help Me with Employee Enrollment?

Yes, we do! We guide you from the beginning stages of reviewing plan to the final implementation process. We continue to help with submitting enrollments throughout each plan year and are more than willing to meet with employees at your request.

How Do I Know What I Legally Have to Provide for My Employees?

Mandated basic benefits include: Family and Medical Leave, Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ compensation insurance. It is also important to note that requirements may vary by state. Working with a specialist can ensure your employee benefits program is in compliance with government regulations.

How Many Employees Do I Need to Have in Order to Have A Group Benefit Plan?

Two full-time employees is the minimum for a group benefit plan to be offered.

Does the Company/Employer Have to Pay Some of The Cost for Health Coverage? How Much?

With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, there are legal considerations that must be addressed when offering health coverage. Businesses with 50 full-time employees or fewer are not required to provide health insurance. However, if your business is comprised of 50 or more employees, you are required to offer health insurance. Most insurers and health plans typically require that employers cover at least half of the premium cost for qualified employees. In attempts to maintain low health insurance options, Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) are increasing in popularity amongst employers.

How Much Does A Group Benefit Plan Cost?

Group Medical plans vary in cost depending on the type of plan, the network, deductible range, how many employees, insurance carrier, etc. Although Group Benefit plans ae associated with an additional cost, they offer immense value to current and prospective employees. Happy and healthy employees can increase productivity in the workplace and help enhance employee retention.

Some of My Staff Are Not Interested in A Benefit Plan. Do All My Employees Have to Participate?

This depends on the size of the group and the participation guidelines per the insurance carriers. To determine if this is applicable to your business, please speak with an advisor for more details.

Personal Insurance

I Have an Older Car Whose Current Market Value Is Very Low – Do I Really Need to Purchase Car Insurance?

Most states, including Pennsylvania, require that drivers purchase at least the minimum amount of auto insurance as designated by the state. For Pennsylvania, it is required that drivers hold liability coverage with a minimum of $15,000 per person, per accident and $30,000 total per accident for bodily injury, and $5,000 per accident for property damage.

What Factors Can Affect the Cost of My Car Insurance?

Many factors come in to play when determining the cost of auto insurance. Factors such as geographic location, age, gender, vehicle type and use, and average miles driven. Finding the right coverage at the best rate can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. There are additional steps you can take to help you score the best rate.

What Are Some Practical Things I Can Do to Lower the Cost of My Home Insurance?

There are several ways you can strive to lower your home insurance cost. Increasing your deductible, reinforcing your roof and storm shutters, reducing flood risk, and and improving your home security can help reduce the cost of home insurance. Completing a Home Inventory can also help you compare the value of your belongings to the contents limit in your policy to ensure you have the proper amount of insurance to cover your belongings in the event that they are lost, stolen or damaged.

What Factors Should I Consider When Purchasing Homeowners Insurance?

Location- If you are planning to live in an area that is prone to flooding, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, your premium is likely going to be higher. Deductibles- weigh your options when it comes to paying deductibles in relation to your premium. Liability and Contents- - Liability covers you from injury or property damage by a third party on your property. Contents protects the valuables in your home, such as jewelry and antiques. Lowest Doesn’t Mean Best Choice- It’s important to find the best coverage at a rate that is affordable for you. We shop 70+ carriers to find a policy and price that is appropriate for your unique financial situation.

Why Would I Want to Buy Renters Insurance?

Many believe that when renting, the landlord’s insurance will be responsible for any mishaps that may occur. However, that is not the case. Renters insurance can protect your personal possessions and cover personal liabilities if someone is injured on your property or in the event that your property is damaged.

How Do I Know How Much Renters Insurance I Will Need?

Determining the amount of coverage that you need is to speak with an Insurance and Risk advisor. Because you do not own the policy, there is no minimum amount you must insure. However, completing a home inventory can help you assess the value of your belongings and help identify the amount of coverage you should purchase.

How Does A Renters Insurance Policy Protect My Personal Property?

With a Renters Insurance policy, your plan may cover the cost to repair or replace your belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronics, if it is unexpectedly damaged up to the limits in your policy. Without Renters Insurance nothing happens. Meaning without proper coverage you will be responsible for covering the cost of replacing your lost or damaged belongings.

How Do I Know If I Need A Personal Umbrella Liability Policy?

Umbrella insurance is a secondary type of liability insurance that covers your personal liability. Umbrella insurance gives you added coverage for lawsuits and claims against you. If you have accumulated assets, in the event of a lawsuit, these items could be at risk if not protected under an umbrella liability policy.

Is It More Expensive to Work with An Independent Agent?

Ultimately, it depends! However, trying to navigate the insurance world on your own can lead to errors that could potentially cost you more money down the line. Having a second set of eyes can be extremely value in saving you money in the long term. As independent agents, we are not looking to just sell you a product. We work with 70+ carriers to find the right coverage to protect you today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Life Insurance Is Expensive and I am Young. Why Do I Need It?

Life is unexpected. If any unforeseen circumstances arise and your life is taken, it is important to have a plan in place for your financial responsibilities. Without life insurance, your family, spouse, or children could bear the burden of your debt after your passing. If you own a business, life insurance would protect and pass on your business through a succession plan.

Can I Buy Insurance on Things Other Than My Home, Car, and Property?

Yes! From pets to off road vehicles, weddings, and more Duncan Financial Group works with 70+ carriers to find the best coverage.

Do I Need Flood Insurance If I Have Never Flooded?

Just because you have never had a flood, does not mean you are not at risk. Flood zones can change over time and when factoring in the unpredictability of the weather, it’s always better safe than sorry. To find out if you reside in a flood zone, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Map Service Center.

Should I Insure My Pets? How Do I Insure My Pets?

From Fur Babies to Furry Friends, deciding whether to get your paws on a pet insurance policy comes down to your financial situation and your pet’s overall health. Pet Insurance typically covers checkups, preventative care, as well as injury and illnesses. To learn more about protecting your pet, speak with one of our independent insurance agents

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Business Insurance

Am I Overpaying for My Workers’ Compensation? How Do I Know?

Unfortunately, overpaying for worker’s compensations is more common than you think. The number one reason being code miss classifications. Having a trained professional perform a worker’s compensation audit can help uncover errors that could be costing your company big bucks.

I Like My Current Agent or Broker. Why Should I Take Quotes from Other Agencies?

Through familiarity, we can often become blind to the benefits and opportunities of change. When it comes to your business, every opportunity matters. By receiving quotes from other agencies, you may discover that you are under insured or that you are overpaying for coverage that isn’t the best match for your business. We look at the whole picture to design a program to address the needs and risks associated with your business.

If I Have A Claim, Does Duncan Help with Processing or Do I Have to Talk to My Carrier?

Yes, we do help with processing! We provide forms when the policy is issued to help make claim reporting easy.

Is Insurance Coverage Different for Different Businesses?

Because businesses vary in size, industry, and roles it is challenging to have a single policy that suits all businesses. We don’t make a one-size-fits-all solution, we customize plans to meet your specific business’ needs.

I’m Just Getting My Business Started. Do I Need Insurance Right Away?
Risks are inevitable. Being prepared and proactive about protecting your business is always in the best interest of your company. Insuring your building, inventory, and employees can help build a well-protected foundation as you begin to grow your business.

Everybody Seems to Be Suing Everybody Else These Days. What If Someone Sues My Business?

Having a liability insurance policy in place can help your business better prepare for a lawsuit. This protection can extend to cover your business assets, damages, and even the legal fees involved in a lawsuit.

How Can I Protect My Business in Case We Need to Temporarily Close Due to Damage?

Business Income Coverage is a layer of protection that covers lost income due to temporary business closures as a result of external events. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster and 25% of business fail within one year following their reopening. Oftentimes, this is a result of an underinsured policy. With a Business Income policy, typically the profits you would have earned, average operating expenses, and expenses to relocate your business would be covered. For more details on Business Income policies, please speak with one of our specialists.

What Happens If A Large Piece of Equipment, Necessary for Running My Company, Breaks Down?

Equipment Breakdown Coverage is designed to help your business repair or replace the machine in addition to any lost income from lost time. For more details on Equipment Breakdown Coverage policies, please speak with one of our insurance specialists.

Estate Planning

Why Should My Financial Advisor Be Involved with My Estate Plan?

Working with an experienced financial advisor can help find the most efficient and beneficial outcome for your estate plan- because the transferring of your wealth is just as important as acquiring it. Our financial advisors take the time to know you. We understand what assets need to be carried on and can help identify the best courses of action to carry out your estate plan efficiently and appropriately.

I Don’t Own Much. Why Would I Need an Estate Plan?

Estate plans are not just for the wealthy Estate protect your assets for your selected heirs and allow you to designate who actually receives these belongings. Additionally, it considers other essential concepts, such as caring for children, ensuring your family is provided for, and designating your power of attorney and establishes a living will and medical action plan. These are fundamental in ensuring that your preferences in regards to medical care are carried out warranting you cannot make the decision for yourself. Although these are choices that are not ideal to consider, it is important to have an established plan in place in case unforeseen circumstances arise.

Can Duncan Help Me Create A Will or Trust?
We are experienced in the creation of trusts and wills – vital estate documents that determine where, when, and how assets will be distributed after your passing. By working with an advisor that takes the time to know you, we can see the bigger picture. This allows us to properly create a plan that encompasses all of your assets and is cognizant of tax implications and your overall financial portfolio.

How Can I Protect My Wealth from Estate Taxes?

Gifting money to family members or charity can help deter one from facing estate taxes. Additionally, setting up Trust accounts can aid in properly distributing assets in order to defer estate taxes. To review contribution limits and options, please review the following IRS article

What Should I Do If My Loved One Has Passed Without A Will?

Without a last will and testament, his or her property and assets may not be divided according to his or her wishes. Under these circumstances, the estate will enter probate court, and the laws of the state will determine the dividing of assets. Traditionally, the assets are allocated amongst the surviving spouse and children, however, in the event that the individual is single with no children, the estate will be distributed to relatives determined by the state.

How Much Money Do I Need to Have for An Estate Plan?

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding estate planning is that it pertains solely to the wealthy. However, this is not the case. In fact, your estate is comprised of everything you own- your home, car, investments, possessions, and so on. By having a comprehensive estate plan in place, you have the opportunity to control how these assets are distributed when you pass.

Why Do I Need A Beneficiary?

Without named beneficiaries, your assets may be divided through the probate process and are likely to be divided equally among all living relatives. By naming beneficiaries, they will most likely receive their portion directly without having to go through the court system.

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Personal Taxes

How Much Does It Cost to Have My Income Taxes Prepared?

It depends! Our services are percentage based. There is a minimum fee of $250, but depending on what your return, the amount of time for completion, and the complexity of your individual circumstances, additional expenses may be warranted.

What Do I Need in Order to File My Income Taxes?

To help guide you through tax season, we have put together a Tax Preparation Checklist that you can use to stay organized when filing your income taxes.

How Do I Take Advantage of the Maximum Deductions Possible?

Medical and dental expenses, car or boat registration, charitable donations, unreimbursed and employee business expenses are a few ways to maximize your itemized tax deductions. Working with an experienced tax professional can help you identify where tax deductions are applicable. For information on deductions, please speak with one of our tax and accounting team members.

What Records and Other Documentation Will You Need to Prepare My Income Taxes?

When you go to meet with one of our accountants, please bring your identification information (Social Security card, Driver’s License, state-issued ID), a copy of your most recent tax return, wage and income statements, any recent documents pertaining to real estate you purchased or are paying towards, and documentation of your expenses (medical, IRA contribution, education expenses, self-employment expenses, and so on). To stay organized this tax season, download our tax preparation checklist.

When Should I Start Thinking About Income Tax Preparation?

Ideally, year-round! There are simple steps you can take throughout the year to better prepare you for April 15th (Tax Day). By thinking of tax preparedness as an on-going process, you can alleviate frustration and stress as tax season approaches.

Business Taxes

Does Duncan Specialize in Any Area of Accounting?

Duncan Accounting & Tax Services is distinct in its specialization and years of strategic tax and accounting experience. Our team also focuses on many service-based and manufacturing industries, with a niche tailored to medical practices.

How Can I Ensure My Company Receives the Maximum Deductions Possible?

As a business, there are a number of opportunities to receive tax deductions. From travel expenses to supplies, knowing which expenditures can apply to your tax return can help alleviate the costs associated with running a business. To ensure your company receives the maximum deductions possible, it is best to work with a tax professional who understands and specializes in tax and accounting matters.

What Does Year Round Consulting Mean? Why Is It Important?

We strive to meet with our clients at least quarterly to provide ongoing advice throughout the year. This allows our client’s to better succeed by having a clearer picture of their cash flow and overall financial standing- not just during tax season.

When Should I Start Preparing for Taxes?

Ideally, year-round! Too often companies take a retrospective view of tax and accounting matters. Every transaction has tax consequences; knowing those consequences beforehand makes all the difference. Having a forward-thinking approach, paired with year-round tax consulting can best prepare your business for April 15th (Tax Day).

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